National Geographic : 1942 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine Dr. iaymmnil A. ]illon High on the Foreyard the Crew Furls the Huge Square Sail Here the canvas has been clewed up (corners hauled up) from the deck and the men are gathering it in. Standing on the footrope, they lean over the yard and pull in the sail, holding to the handrail on top, for the motto of a good sailor is "One hand for the ship and one for yourself." No wonder the Pitcairners are considered some of the world's finest boatmen. The Aus tralian Navy often challenges them to a rowing race when there happen to be a few in New Zealand. The Pitcairners, with just a pick-up crew, always win in the Navy's own boats. With logs loaded by midafternoon, we sailed around to the lee side of the island. Here the Pitcairners brought aboard thou sands of coconuts from palms planted years ago. That night we sailed back for Pitcairn. The men, worn and tired, sang hymns all the way. Pitcairners Stage Farewell "Show" When the day came for us to leave Pitcairn, there was half a gale blowing. All of the Yankee's boats were ashore. We didn't see how they could be brought out through the surf. But the Pitcairn men figured differently. With three men to a boat, two with oars and one steering, they took our small craft right through the breakers. One dinghy came near standing on end. It looked as if the oarsmen would be thrown right over the stern. The Yankee's cabins and decks were crowded with Pitcairners, all good friends come to say good-by. Every one brought a farewell gift. Each family had given a share of sugar, a cupful of peas. Some even donated cans of syrup and English jam. It was heart breaking to accept such things when we knew how hard they came, but we could not refuse Pitcairn gifts (page 31). Several young men passed us their dollars, hard-earned and often-counted, with the re quest to buy pants in Tahiti. "Khaki, please." As a sailor's parting gesture, the Pitcairners manned our windlass and brought our anchor up in record time. Then they sang a farewell song, climbed into their boats and were lost in the night. We set a course for the Samoa Islands.